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  1. a native English suffix formerly used in the formation of adjectives: quarrelsome; burdensome.

Origin of -some1

Middle English; Old English -sum; akin to Gothic -sama, German -sam; see same


  1. a collective suffix used with numerals: twosome; threesome.

Origin of -some2

Middle English -sum, Old English sum; special use of some (pronoun)


  1. a combining form meaning “body,” used in the formation of compound words: chromosome.
Also -soma.

Origin of -some3

< Greek sôma body; see soma1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for -some


suffix forming adjectives
  1. characterized by; tending toawesome; tiresome

Word Origin

Old English -sum; related to Gothic -sama, German -sam


suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating a group of a specified number of membersthreesome

Word Origin

Old English sum, special use of some (determiner)


n combining form
  1. a bodychromosome

Word Origin

from Greek sōma body
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for -some


word-forming element used in making adjectives from nouns or adjectives (and sometimes verbs) and meaning "tending to; causing; to a considerable degree," from Old English -sum, identical with som (see some). Cf. Old Frisian -sum, German -sam, Old Norse -samr; also related to same.


suffix added to numerals meaning "a group of (that number)," e.g. twosome, from pronoun use of Old English sum "some" (see some). Originally a separate word used with the genitive plural (e.g. sixa sum "six-some"); the inflection disappeared in Middle English and the pronoun was absorbed. Use of some with a number meaning "approximately" also was in Old English.


word-forming element meaning "the body," Modern Latin, from Greek soma "the body" (see somato-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

-some in Medicine


  1. Body:centrosome.
  2. Chromosome:autosome.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.